Let's use this thread to discuss and share responses to the Third Consent.
I just received part II of the Third Consent.
What wonderful, clear words you write here! I just felt compelled to say that.
I recall CS Lewis saying "I do not pray because it changes God’s mind. I pray because it changes me."
And so it is with the attitude of Service, as you so beautifully and convincingly point out.
Greetings, HP. Great quote by C. S. Lewis -- resonates deeply with what I was saying about the attitude of loving service.
Glad to hear you enjoyed today's message.
I learned to live with the Scripture verse: "As you do it to the least of these you do it to Me." That is where I come from in service. In living with those words I got to see a lot of my own selfishness and manipulations when I first started out. Now, as I learn to live in the Moment, I await the next act of love/service that presents itself. In treating others as I would treat my Lord I find that He comes to me through them as well. The smallest act of love brings so much blessing and joy as I'm learning how very close we can come to Him in serving others. Its like our eye and heart becomes more single in focus and action. In a way, its learning to live with Him in the world.
What wonderful words today. The Third Consent regarding service is very timely for me and I so appreciate what has been said. I am recognizing, more and more, that when I am faithful and obedient to God's call, so much happens in my life that I find it very hard to keep up with Him! The blessings abound in that response and yet it is often so hard for me to remember that. Thank you all for the your words, you have blessed me today.
Oh, the invitation of the cross, to answer the vertical call, the upward sweep of the ascension of Jesus toward God, and the outstretched arms to our neighbor who is longing for that loving care, and to ourselves kneeling and weeping at the base of the cross for all the times when we are less than love. How do we find our wholeness if we not brought low, have times of feeling empty, and times of feeling oneness with our brothers and sisters
we meet along the way! How do we ever know the benevolence and mercy and forgiveness of God if we have not fallen along the way! How do we ever know the cleansing power of confession unless we tell our stories to each other and unless we cry out in prayer to God!
I sometimes take comfort in the idea that one day, everything will be known, and that we know a God from whom no secrets are hidden! I am grateful there is no place we can hide from Love. The sanctuary of our own heart is filled with the flowing Love of God, and to hear that... I love you... in the night is the answer to every prayer. How else could we respond but in loving service. It is our grateful response! We become part of a larger family that is united by this journey of faith!
I am humbled by it.
Blessings and Love,
Another aspect of service -- both our own, and when we recognise that someone is doing God’s service by making a contributing to our lives, our Path -- is that it may open our eyes to the intimate, integral interwovenness of living beings.
For the community of believers, of Path-walkers, has unfenced bounds and is defined by the heart. By our inward "Yes" to the Lord.
A key challenge is to make our work into a way of service. This is possible no matter what way we make our living.
Apropos what Phil writes, there is a nice joke about a receptionist answering a call with the following words: "Yes, but do you wish to speak to the person who makes decisions, or the one who knows what is happening?"
Any work may be transformed into a craft and into service. There is a wonderful book edited by DM Dooling called "A Way of Working: The Spiritual Dimension of Craft" that addresses this -- and it is not limited to craft.
The book came out 20 years ago, but still has much to say.
Hi, I ran across this site that gives a test and analysis of what one's spiritual gifts are. If anyone is interested.
I haven't taken it yet, but am going to now.
That's a good inventory, Dhyana. We use that one here at the retreat center.
Here's another one:
How does it go for you all regarding the use of your natural talents and charisms in your daily life? Does your everyday work afford you opportunities to make use of them? Do you also volunteer at certain jobs or services to put them to use?
I feel so fortunate at this time in life to have a job that I really enjoy -- that allows me a wide range of opportunities to use my talents. It wasn't always that way. Before I started working in retreat ministry, I was scrambling to find ways to do what I loved. It wasn't that there weren't plenty of opportunities to do so, only that I couldn't earn enough money at it and had to supplement this work with other kinds of jobs.
There's a real suffering in having to work at a job one doesn't like much, isn't there? I know we can make a plan to move on, go back to school, etc., but sometimes the need to support one's family makes this difficult. It's a good and holy thing to support one's family doing work one doesn't like, especially if one can find a way to maintain that attitude of loving service we've talked about for this consent. Still, if there's a way to change jobs, go for it!
I'm a teacher and this is my 30th year in the classroom. The majority of those years have been spent in Kindergarten classrooms. I find my job to be physically, emotionally, and intellectually challenging. Do I use any of my natural talents? Hmmm....well a typical teaching day includes planning, singing, organizing, dancing, drawing and storytelling. Each day I must challenge myself to find a balance between disciplining and motivating. I need to have "control" without breaking a child's spirit. What I like most about my job is that each day is an opportunity to make up for the shortcomings of the day before. Can you see how spiritually challenging that can be?
The most humbling part of my job is tying shoes. I tie a million pairs of shoes each day. Sometimes the shoestrings are wet and dirty and oftentimes I have to get down on the ground to tie them. My challenge is to do this with utmost patience and recognize that I AM taking care of these little children of God.
There are certainly discouraging days (like yesterday) but I am always ready to face the challenge of the next day and go back in there with the right attitude.
I think I was born to be a teacher. As my longtime friends tell me....."Anne, you were good with kids when WE were kids."
I was also born with the heart of an artist. In more recent years, as my own two children have demanded less of me God has offered me many opportunities for self expression and I find that I am overwhelmed with gratitutde. I can play the flute and occasionally I play at Mass in our parish. I also serve as a cantor in my church and I found that the part of this I enjoy most is practicing at home! I am also involved in some artistic endeavors (long story) and I've actually had some success selling some of my work. While this is certainly affirming I've found that it is the actual creative PROCESS that brings me the most joy.
At age 51, I've never regretted my teaching career. I've never felt that God intended me to be an artist and I "copped out" by becoming a teacher. Instead, I believe that God intended me to be a teacher but he also had great surprises in store for me during the second half of my life. The time I spend creating is a great balance to my demanding work in the classroom.
I used to be a diplomate's wife and I was quite good at the entertaining 'bit' and caring for the community, but I always felt so small outside of my own home.
Now I am a 'day mother' and care for small children in my home. After 11 years I have learnt a lot and can often stand up for myself now, but it's taken quite a bit of humiliating moments to allow me to do that. I have no qualifications and once said that caring for small children was all I was good at. Well, others now tell me that it is true. Many of the 'mums' that come to me are first-timers and several have been in tears when their time with me came to an end. I treat the children as my own and the rewards are endless!! When a small child stands in the market place, looks up suddenly and says 'you love me, don't you!' then there is no other job I would want to be doing. It's tough, badly paid and very tiring but it's I am where I am supposed to be.
In our church we have are having several Locums and I tell them all that I am the 'silly questions department'. I wash the church linen, set up for Eucharist, see to wine, host and candles etc. and I make banners. I would not swap that position in the church either. So all in all, I think I am a very lucky person!
It seems amazing to me how God takes just the smallest spark of willingness and uses it to bring us to a place of compassionate service. Gazing back over my life I would have never imagined the distance gone went to bring me to the place of blessing I now live with every day. Like Phil I see myself as incredibly blessed to do what I love (and I think I'm gifted for). But back when I launched from my parent's front door step I never would have guessed about the road ahead. The journey unfolded a step at a time. And there were many steps there when I went the wrong way. But even then God still brought his plan around to reality. I have done work that, while honorable, was difficult, unfulfilling, and completely outside my giftedness. It paid the bills and I was thankful for that, but I sure wasn't happy. I look back wishing I would have grumbled less but that's behind me now. Walking beside people (as a pastor) as they discover God, is a joy to me... as long as I stay out of the driver's seat. But let me slide over and take the wheel (control) and anxiety steals the joy of service away. Service can so quickly becomes about me accomplishing something in stead of God's love toward others. Lord help be a passenger and let you do the driving!
Thanks for all the sharing everyone!
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